COLLECTIVE EXPERIENCES #1

Collective Experiences

Weekly Diary #1

 

Text by INTERWEAVE for MAI
Photos by
 NATALIA TSOUKALA and PANOS KOKKINIAS

Tuesday, March 17 – 2016

With the second lying ahead, the first week of As One has come to its end. To the question, what is NEON + MAI’s As One, the answer is simple: a collective experience to be shared openly with the public, consisting of the Abramovic Method, newly commissioned performance pieces by Greek artists, and an extensive public program of lectures, workshops, discussions and other public participatory events.

NEON + MAI’s As One a unique experience will be illustrated in a seven week diary that follows and chronicles the show’s events. Let’s start from the first one. 

 

Thursday, March 10th: The Opening Day
The clock strikes 12.00’ pm and the NEON + MAI’s As One starts its long journey in Athens, Greece.

The journey starts from the building opposite the Benaki museum: Thanassis Akokallidis, one of the first week’s interventional artists, is sitting on its highest point, face to face with his extreme fear of heights. But while his fear of heights may seize control of his mind and body, this performance opens up a new, more lucid perspective on this fear as he looks out over the city of Athens.

On the ground floor, the visitors can experience the Abramovic Method: a series of exercises focusing on quiet, connection, stillness, and concentration are shared with the audience, with the help of trained facilitators. Presenting the Method on the ground floor, offers the audience the chance to fine-tune their energy before experiencing the durational performances in other parts of the museum.

At the courtyard, one of As One’s six long-durational performance artists, Thodoris Trampas with Pangaia, delineates a process of union through destruction, and the need for reconciliation with the other side. The courtyard will also host some of the lectures during As One (including the ones given by Marina Abramovic) – and of course, the welcome speech of Marina Abramovic and Dimitris Daskalopoulos on the As One exhibition.

The first floor along with the Auditorium, hosts films and documentary viewings and workshops. During this first day, a film with Marina Abramovic’ interview from the ‘80s and ‘90’s is being projected, attracting the audience.

Then, there is the second floor – the place that will be hosting four long-durational performances and two interventional ones. Jargon by Virginia Mastrogiannaki, One person at a time by Yota Argyropoulou, Corner Time by Despina Zacharopoulou, Micropolitics of Noise by Lampros Pigounis, White Cave by Nancy Stamatopoulou – and, also, A Key by Yiannis Pappas, A Woman in State of Truth by Anastasia Papatheodorou, the two interventional ones for As One’s first week.

Friday, March 11th: Day 2
Marina Abramovic’s first out of two workshops is being held today. Before the workshop starts, the space is brimming with energy that is being shared with all parties involved. Both artists and people reflect on their limits. As One. Lambros’ platform is full of people, moving throughout his installation. Yota’s room is constantly hosting One person at a time. Thanassis’ intervention, Theodori’s Pangaia, Virginia’s Jargon, Nancy’s White Cave captivate audience’s attention. Despina’s corner attracts audience’s attention - Yannis’ Key as well.

Saturday, March 12th: Day 3
The second As One workshop by Mariana Kavallieratos was held: the Silent Movement workshop, where people experienced moving together As One, in total silence. The triumph of togetherness, the triumph of several human beings existing as one. When the workshop comes to its end, Nikolaos and Katerina Oikonomou, two artists that are going to present some interventional work during the exhibition, had a truly spontaneous expression, filling first floor’s workshop place with extra energy and creativity.

Sunday, March 13th: Day 4
First week closes with a significant re-perfomance: forty-one years after Marina Abramovic’s performance in the Charlottenburg Art Festival in Copenhagen, “Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful” was re-performed in Athens: for eight hours, by four Greek performers, with Marina Abramovic present to witness this event. In total throughout the exhibition, seven Greek artists (Dimitris Bampilis, Dimitra Billia, Gitsa Konstadoudaki, Martha Pasakopoulou, Eliane Roumie, Vassiliki Spachou, Kalliopi Zervoulakou) will have this one-of-a-kind experience. This was the first time that this work was re-performed in Europe.

Last but not least, the completion of the three interventional performance artists works: Thanassis Akokkalidis (Don’t Look Down) coped with his fears and set them apart from his phobias, adopting a different reality for his mind; Anastasia Papatheodorou (A woman in state of truth) wondered about the lightness with which the human brain endures and works on accepting the most tragic and demeaning events of our times as presented through the media, while maintaining a detachment that is open to the act of forgetting; and Yiannis Pappas completed his way through a sequence of “cells”, his only tool for escape is a key, which he used during these four days to break through the walls.



NEON + MAI | As One
March 10 - April 24, 2016
Benaki Museum, 138 Pireos St. Athens, Greece